Shout at the Döner

(Tigerbeat6; 2009)

By David Abravanel | 1 May 2009

A new Kid606 record is perhaps most exciting because it’s hard to ever accurately anticipate what it’s going to sound like. Eschewing the linear progressions of his genre-hopping contemporaries (those who go through different phases), Miguel De Pedro has instead delivered an oeuvre that plays like a stream-of-consciousness narrative of his growth, and of his many, many tangents, as a musician. After hearing his de facto “comeback” release, the album-length EP Die Soundboy Die, I was expecting that, goofy title aside, Shout At The Döner might amount to something in a slower, dubstep vein.

Not so; it appears that De Pedro’s down time wasn’t as dark and paranoid as it seemed on Soundboy—instead, Döner finds Kid606 in familiar thematic territory, gleefully pissing on (and taking the piss out of) hyperactive dance music. Lead single “Mr. Wobble’s Nightmare” is jaded raver’s exhibit A, twisting the scenario of 4 Hero’s breaks and bleeps classic “Mr. Kirk’s Nightmare,” in which a father is informed of his son’s death by overdose, to a pitched-down recording of Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart finding out that his son has been eaten alive by trapped ravers. Where there was, at the very least, a glimmer of sincerity in the intended shock of the 4 Hero track, De Pedro is in B-horror director mode. Like a George Romero joint in which a subtle social commentary/farce about the monotony of an American shopping mall makes its point in blood, De Pedro subversively observes that ravers are kind of like zombies in their blind revelry. Plus, that bass just murders.

Beyond “Mr. Wobble’s Nightmare,” Döner is ridden with grinning post-apocalyptic terror. The self-evident “Dancehall of the Dead” transforms Nick Cave’s Goth rallying call “Hands up! Who wants to die?!” into a mantra for drooling, demented kiddies of the Hoover stab sound. It’s a shame there’s already been a film called Rave to the Grave, since this would have been perfect for the soundtrack. What’s more, “Dancehall” incorporates a disparate series of samples, including what sounds like a heavily processed version of the “It Takes Two” scream (this wouldn’t be the first time; see: “The Illness”) and the Breeders. Döner is a gracious hit of brown acid, and sometimes literally, as in “The Church of 606 Is Now Open For Business” using sexual come-ones from Da Brat and the Detroit Grand Pubahs to bluntly declare drug-fueled intent.

Given Kid606’s background and tendencies, it’s an improbable feat that Döner is so easy to listen to in one sitting. It’s almost 80 minutes long, and listeners familiar with the noise-filled, messy pastiches that marked De Pedro’s early work would be forgiven for approaching this as an endurance test. But—dirty word used to excuse boredom though this may be—maturity has hit our Kitty, at least compositionally. While previous releases have, at times, suffered from great ideas that rapidly devolved into five-minute repetitions of mediocre bass lines and novelty samples that wore out quickly, the pieces on Döner flesh out, becoming almost like (again, a dirty word) songs—when appropriate. This isn’t to say that De Pedro has lost his prankster streak, or that he’s above titling tracks “Underwear Everywhere” or “America’s Next Top Modwheel,” but that the former track combines the best elements of his ambient excursions on Mille Plateaux, his more reflective material like 2005’s Resilience, and a healthy helping of chipmunk samples.

Like Ween in its prime, Kid606 is riffing on a genre smorgasbord with the effortless soul and dedication to outclass many of his apparent targets. “You All Break My Heart” busts open with a digital bass line worthy of Lisa Lisa (or at least DMX Krew), layered crescendos and breakdowns backing a sample of disco diva Loleatta Holloway shouting out about not stealing men. On the one hand, it’s easy to imagine De Pedro giggling at the prospect of someone getting so worked up over monogamy. Then again, there’s also something unmistakably sincere about the high of piano and synth that strikes here—despite the satirical presentation, De Pedro is really feeling Holloway. Similarly, album-closer “Good Times” is a skanking piece of acid—think SL2’s “On A Ragga Tip” screwed down with a few gulps of purple drank.

More than ever, it feels like we need this right now: the pinprick to deflate what has become an increasingly self-serious and egotistical face of monotonous day-glo dance music—honestly, how did the early Prodigy records predicate the fashion-trash elitism of nu-rave? Like contemporaries Shitmat and Venetian Snares, Kid606 is the anti-heroic boogey man who makes slumber parties that much more exciting and unpredictable. And Döner, then, is De Pedro munching on fried raver brains with a bizarrely inviting twinkle in his eye.